Formative evaluation to benchmark and improve climate-based decision support for graziers in western Queensland

Article


Keogh, D. U., Bell, K. L., Park, J. N. and Cobon, D, H.. 2004. "Formative evaluation to benchmark and improve climate-based decision support for graziers in western Queensland." Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture. 44, pp. 233-246. https://doi.org/10.1071/EA01204
Article Title

Formative evaluation to benchmark and improve climate-based decision support for graziers in western Queensland

Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsKeogh, D. U. (Author), Bell, K. L. (Author), Park, J. N. (Author) and Cobon, D, H. (Author)
Journal TitleAustralian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
Journal Citation44, pp. 233-246
Number of Pages14
Year2004
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1071/EA01204
Abstract

Researchers developing climate-based forecasts, workshops, software tools and information to aid grazier decisions undertook an evaluation study to enhance planning and benchmark impact. One hundred graziers in western Queensland were randomly selected from 7 shires and surveyed by mail and phone (43 respondents) to explore levels of knowledge and use of climate information, practices and information needs. We found 36% of respondents apply the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) to property decisions but 92% were unaware El Niño Southern Oscillation’s predictive signal in the region is greater for pasture growth than rainfall, suggesting they may not recognise the potential of pasture growth forecasts. Almost 75% of graziers consider they are conservative or risk averse in their attitude to managing their enterprise. Mail respondents (n=20) if given a 68%, on average, probability of exceeding median rainfall forecast may change a decision; almost two-thirds vary stocking rate based on forage available, last year’s pasture growth or the SOI; the balance maintain a constant stocking rate strategy; 90% have access to a computer; 75% to the internet and 95% have a fax. This paper presents findings of the study and draws comparisons with a similar study of 174 irrigators in the northern Murray-Darling Basin (Keogh et al. 2003). New insights and information gained are helping the team better understand client needs and plan, design and extend tools and information tailored to grazier knowledge, practice, information needs and preferences. Results have also provided a benchmark against which to measure project impact and have influenced the team to make important changes to their project planning, activities and methods for transferring technology tailored to grazier preferences.

Keywordsbenchmarking, client focus, continuous improvement, El Niño Southern Oscillation, ENSO, extension planning, irrigators, Murray-Darling Basin pasture growth forecasts, seasonal climate forecasts, SOI, Southern Oscillation Index
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300208. Farm management, rural management and agribusiness
Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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